By the time I got there, she could answer questions with "Well," like she was going to keep talking, except that she couldn't find the words.
The next morning the speech therapist showed up. "Do you know where you are?" she asked? No answer. My mom sat there looking agitated and confused. The therapist pointed my way. "Who's this? Is this your daughter?" She looked at me like I was a space alien. Ouch. My cynical side chipped in. I risk my life speeding in rush hour traffic to be at your side and you don't know who I am!?
This wasn't good. I loved my parents and tried to visit them as much as possible. My mom was very supportive and always listened to me, no matter how much I rambled on. Now she was a stranger.
As I paced in the hall like a frustrated zoo animal my dad filled me in on some things I wasn't aware of:
- A few years back she'd had strokelike symptoms (one sided weakness and slurred speech) but refused to see a doctor, insisting it was no big deal. Huh!?
- Her doctor had prescribed high blood pressure medicine but she stopped taking it because it "made her dizzy".
Yesterday she started talking again, but it didn't make much sense. The stroke must have hit the left side of her brain (speech and logic). She seemed to have a vague idea where she was but didn't get the entire picture. She did know that, where ever she was, she wanted out.
The doctors ordered her to stay in bed for safety- her coordination was poor, but not poor enough to try to sneak out of the bed repeatedly. Either she didn't get that she had to stay put or knew that she was supposed to stay in bed but the emotional "I want outta here" impulse overtook the logical "I'm s'posed to stay here" impulse. She was sneaky. She'd weasel one leg over the side and then the other. We'd put the legs back and tell her no. This pissed her off but elicited a coherent sentence. "Don't say no to me!"
Later she decided the oxygen nose tube had to go. She couldn't comb her hair or brush her teeth but she know how to unhook that tube. I put it back on. She took it off. I put it back on. She took it off. As I struggled to put it back on the zillionth time she called my name in an exasperated tone I hadn't heard since I was a teenager.
That was ok by me: she knew who I was!